Microsoft resurrects awful talking paperclip

Older incarnations of Microsoft Word had a cartoon paper clip, Clippy, pop up in the bottom-right of your screen to offer very wrong advice when you’re trying to do something, anything. Drafting a letter? “It looks like you’re trying to create an ASCII portrait of Pavarotti”.

While we’d hoped the smug know-it-all had been clipped onto the wrong stack of documents and packed off to the Recycling Plant in the Sky, some bright spark at Microsoft has decided to resurrect the bug-eyed coil for the gamifacation of day-to-day Office Suite work, some time around Easter. 

Microsoft’s Office Labs has released a game called Ribbon Hero 2: Clippy’s Second Chance, which you can download here. To be fair to Microsoft, it is tongue in cheek, with the intro claiming Clippy got fired because he was even irritating Bill Gates. Then he moved into his mum’s basement and ended up in a weird game.

Clippy the clip gets kicked out of mum's house

The game is embedded by way of an icon in the top right of Office. Click on it and the game opens. You’ll find Clippy sitting in some historical world setting like Medieval times or Ancient Egypt. Here you pick another icon, for example, Anubis, and Microsoft will ask you to perform some kind of task. Like change the orientation of a page to landscape. Then you get points. That’s it! We wonder what Ra would think.

It’s very hard to get Edutainment right. Typing of The Dead just about managed it, mostly because it had zombies.

The idea to teach the basics of word to a newcomer could be useful pre-office job or temp interview test, but otherwise we think Clippy blew his second chance and should be cast off to the scrap heap.

You can have one of Ballmers minions, which he dresses in his own graven image, talk you through it in this video:

We found this on, in the bit about semiconductors.